It was not a classic, but Pakistan did enough to defeat arch-rivals India 3-1 at the Azlan Shah Cup tournament in Ipoh tonight.
The win gave Pakistan nine points from five matches and they moved ahead of India in the standings.
It was all Pakistan in the second half as India was hardly in the game despite taking the lead at halftime. And had the Pakistani forwards been sharper, India would have been handed a much heavier defeat.
India thought they had taken the lead in the 14<SUP>th</SUP> minute off their first penalty corner. Dhananjay Mahadik took the shot and it was saved by Imran Shah in the Pakistan goal. The rebound fell to Shivendra Singh who sent in a thunderous shot into goal.
Umpire Roderick Wijsmuller from Holland signaled for goal but was immediately surrounded by the Pakistani players who claimed that they were impeded when rushing for the rebound.
After consulting fellow umpire Martin Madden of Great Britain, the goal was disallowed by Wijsmuller and none of the Indian players protested, perhaps aware of the infringement.
But India were not to be denied as Rupinder Pal Singh made the second penalty corner count by sending a flick high into the Pakistani net in the 21<SUP>st</SUP> minute, giving India a 1-0 lead and taking his personal tally in the tournament to six goals.
Pakistan came close twice within the space of a minute upon resumption. First it was Rehan Butt who saw his shot saved by Indian custodian Adrian SíSouza. And in the next minute Shakeel Abbasi sent his scoop over the bar with only Adrian to beat.
However the equalizer eventually came in the 49<SUP>th</SUP> minute as Fareed Ahmad worked his way into the semi circle from the left, relayed the ball to Muhd Umar Bhutta who had his back to the Indian goal but took a shot on the turn to score.
And when Pakistan were awarded a penalty corner in the 56<SUP>th</SUP> minute, no thanks to Rupinder Pal who failed to stop the ball and hit its foot, there was anticipation in the stands that Sohail Abbas will score.
But up stepped skipper Muhammad Imran who sent a waist high drag flick sailing into goal to put Pakistan 2-1 ahead.
India were shattered and in the next minute conceded another penalty corner, which Sohail dispatched to put them 3-1 ahead.
It was Pakistan who finished the match stronger and despite forcing two more penalty corners, they failed to add to their advantage.